HELP ME Find Your Books!

And by "ME," I don't just mean LDS Publisher—I mean every single reader out there who accesses the Internet!

If you're a published (or about to be published) author, you need an Internet presence and you need good solid information about your book(s)!

I know I've talked about this before but I think it bears repeating because because a lot of you (especially newly published authors) are NOT doing this. How do I know you're not doing it? Because I'm googling you!

When I hear about a new LDS author or that an author has a new book about to come out, I google you to find the needed information to post about your book on the LDS Fiction site. I should be able to find you in three clicks. Guess what? Often, I can't find you in 30 clicks!

Okay, rarely am I that persistent. But the point is, if I'm not willing to look that hard for you, potential readers won't be either. If they can't find you in three clicks, they'll assume you aren't that good and won't bother. Lost sale, lost fan.

Sometimes when I do find an author blog, I'm able to determine that yes, the person is an author, and yes, the person does have a book coming out or the book has been recently released. But that's all. No mention of the title, the release date, the publisher. I know that in our culture, we're trained not to toot our own horn but there's a difference between over-doing the bragging and simply providing information to interested parties.

Here is the bare minimum that you need to do:
  • Have a blog or website. They don't have to be fancy. A simple, visually appealing static blog using a basic template is better than nothing.

  • Have a post about your book. Use LDS Fiction posts as a template. In fact, if your book is listed there, copy and paste it onto your blog, if you want. I don't care.

  • If you have more than one book, do a post on each book. If you have a series, let us know in what order to read the books.

  • Make sure there is at least one link in that post to a place where readers can buy your book online—Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, Deseret Book, Seagull, BYU Bookstore, your publisher... (the more options the better)

  • With publisher permission, post the first chapter of your book on your blog.

  • Put the book covers as pictures in your sidebar.

  • When you have a new book coming out, get that information up there as soon as possible!

  • If you're doing a book signing or speaking somewhere, set up a Page on your blog and put a link in your sidebar, with information well in advance of the event. Include date, time, location, complete address, phone number of location (if available), and if you're savvy, a link to a map of how to get there.
Here are just a few authors who I think do it right. Some of them have fancy websites, others have simple blogs—but they all have good information about their books that is easy to find.



If you have a blog or website that you think is a good example of doing it right, feel free to put your link in the comments section.

Don't have a blog and need help setting one up? I've put some basic info under the label Blogging 101.


Someone Else Wanna' Take This One?

Hey, I'm wondering what's going on in the publishing industry with this tanked economy. Is publishing struggling as much as the rest of this great nation, or has the slump made more people want to check out of life with a good book? How are the LDS publishers doing? Main stream publishers? Just wondering.

Yes, publishing is struggling. How much, I don't know for sure.

Professionally, I am seeing fewer titles published by smaller presses and new releases held back. The bigger publishers seem to be doing about the same. In the LDS arena, I've seen accepted manuscripts and scheduled releases dropped, and series release dates pushed into the future. But then, I've also seen lots of new authors picked up and some series have added titles beyond their original scope. So it's hard to tell and publishers generally aren't forthcoming about the true state of affairs with their company. It would damage their sales to say they were struggling.

Personally, like most other bookaholics I know, I've had to put myself on a book diet. I buy fewer titles now and get a lot more from the library. Which totally stinks, but...

Publishers? Authors? Readers? Want to chime in on this?



I've gotten a couple of complaints that comments aren't posting. So I tested it. Sure enough. My comment was hijacked and sent to my "Spam Inbox"—which I didn't even know existed!

This is what Blogger has to say about that:

Spam Inbox

Blogger now filters comments that are likely spam comments to a Spam Inbox, much like the spam folder in your email. When someone leaves a comment on your blog, it will be reviewed against our spam detector, and comments that are identified as possible spam will be sent to your blog’s Spam Inbox, found at Comments | Spam.

You can help improve our ability to automatically detect spam comments by checking your Spam Inbox and deleting spam comments and marking real comments that may have been flagged as spam as Not Spam.

We are always seeking feedback on how to improve this feature, so please share your feedback with us by clicking on the Report Spam Filtering Issues.

Anybody know how to turn this feature OFF? I couldn't find a way to do that.

If you post a comment and it doesn't show up, don't panic. I will try to check my spam box daily (although honestly, it will most likely be a few times a week) and get your hijacked comments routed correctly. Sorry.


LDS Publicists

Do you know? Is there such a thing as a publicist in this LDS literature market? Or marketing specialists? I need some serious publicity and marketing help. Thanks for all you do.

I don't know of any publicists specific to the LDS market. Most publishers have their own publicists—either in-house or those to whom they contract out.

Some authors hire their own publicists.

Help me out readers. Do you know of a publicist or marketing firm/agency/individual that you would recommend? Or are YOU a publicist? Tell us in the comments. Include enough info (website, full name, etc.) so that we can track them/you down if we want to hire them/you.


Contract Deal-Killers

Since you mention that you wouldn't sign a contract with a certain clause here, LDSP, I thought I'd go ahead and ask: what would be the deal-killers in a contract in your opinion? ROFR, ROFLR, etc.?

As a publisher, I think ROFR (Right of First Refusal) is a good thing. Usually, a first book does not sell as well as a second, third, or twelfth book. It takes time for an author to build up a fan base. When I invest in an author, I'm not just investing in one book. I'm investing in that author's potential. The ROFR clause is there to help protect my investment—and in most cases, it should be reassuring to the author, knowing that the publisher sees this as a long-term relationship and not a one-hit wonder.

However, it's easy for ROFR to turn into a monster. It needs to be limited. For example, it must be the next book, not every new book into eternity. It also needs to have an end date, for example, a book written in the next two years. Or it can be limited to a series, or to a genre.

Lately, I've seen contracts moving away from ROFR, toward a multiple book deal. For example, a publisher may contract an author of a YA fantasy for the one book they submitted, plus two more for a series. Or maybe for the submitted mystery, plus two more unrelated mysteries. I'm fine with that. To me, it seems fair to both publisher and author—assuring that the publisher makes back an investment and that the author has an automatic in for the next two books (assuming they're good); but after that, both parties are free to move on.

The ROFLR (Right of First and Last Refusal) is a whole different kettle of fish—and very stinky fish at that. What this means is, you submit your next book, to Publisher #1 and they reject it. You submit it to Publisher #2 and they like it—but before you can accept their offer, you have to go back to Publisher #1 and give them the option to consider it again. That can take up to a year or more. At which point, publisher #2 may no longer be interested. I'd never agree to this.

Payment to Publisher: The other thing I'd never agree to is paying money to a traditional publisher. (There are situations where you might consider an author-assisted publishing contract, but that's for another discussion—and is never part of a traditional publishing contract.)

Those two, along with the repayment of royalties, are the only things that I would definitely reject. Other things would depend on my circumstances.

The important thing about a contract is, you need to know what each clause means in real life language, and understand how it will effect you as the author and your future abilities to write and publish.


Overpayment Refunds?

Hi. I'm looking at my first publishing contract. I'm a real greenie, here. It has these words:

"In all instances in which the Author shall have received an overpayment of monies under the terms hereof, the Publisher may deduct such overpayment from any further sums payable to the Author in respect to the Work."

I don't understand. Under what conditions would I be overpaid? And would I ever have to refund royalties to the publisher?

When a publisher sells to a bookstore, the bookstore then tries to sell the book. If they can't, they can return the book to the publisher. The publisher may have already paid you royalties on that sale. If they have, they deduct it from what's due in your next batch of royalties.

If the returned books are still in good condition, the publisher can resell them and you'll get the royalty on that second sale. But if they're beat up, they may have to be written off as a loss, or sold as "scratch & dent"—in which case, you probably would not get a royalty.

If more books are returned than are sold (hopefully that won't happen to your book), some publishers may require you to return royalties. (Yes, I've seen it in some contracts.) I think that is a stinky policy and would refuse to sign a contract with that in it.

In your case, since it isn't spelled out, I'd ask your publisher what would happen if returns overbalanced sales, and have them spell it out in the contract along the lines of, "in no case shall author have to return paid royalties".

*Clarification: I think returning royalties that have already been paid is a stinky policy. The part about subtracting returns from future payments is fair. This situation is one of the reasons why many publishers only pay royalties twice a year.


October 2010 Prize Sponsors

Last month's prize winners announced HERE.

Please take a moment to learn more about our wonderfully generous sponsors.

Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett

High school junior Jen inadvertently turns her life upside down when, out of boredom, she makes a bet that she can turn school geek, Trevor, into someone bad, someone like her. His complete opposite in every way, the sarcastic goth-girl tries pulling him into her world of partying. Instead she finds herself sucked into Trevor’s world of sci-fi movies, charity work and even – ugh! – bowling.

If that weren’t bad enough, she desperately wants to become a permanent part of the foster family she currently lives with, even if it means having a cheerleader for a sister. What’s up with that?

But Jen must come to terms with her past, including her now-dead abusive father and her imprisoned mother. Jen’s journey will lead her to discover the true meaning of friendship, family, forgiveness, and above all, love.

Cindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She lives with her husband, 2 daughters, and 2 dogs. She's always loved to write, mostly since high school when a teacher forced his English classes to do creative writing each day for 10 minutes. "He opened up a whole new world to me, and I will forever be grateful, Mr. Bickmore." She volunteers much of her time working with teen girls between the ages of 12-18, all of whom she finds to be fascinating creatures. When she's not writing, reading, answering emails or hanging with her family, she can ofttimes be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home.

Journey of Honor by Jaclyn M. Hawkes

Disowned, she came to America anyway. Attacked and left pregnant by a vicious mob, she still pressed on. Finally, in spite of being accused of theft by the vilest of her attackers, Giselle tries to remain as upbeat and uncomplaining as a prairie wildflower as she travels on to Zion.

Thoroughly disillusioned with the ugliness and cruelty of slavery in the South, Trace Grayson leaves his young medical career to go west, hoping to leave bigotry and hatred behind.

Thrown together by circumstance, Trace and Giselle team up to figure out just how to make this epic journey across a continent a success. With a deep sense of honor and an equally strong sense of humor, together they learn to deal with everything except the one trial that neither of them can overcome.

Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, the out of doors, the youth and hearing her children laugh.

She and her fine husband, their family, and their sometimes very large pets, now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe. To learn more about Jaclyn, visit www.jaclynmhawkes.com.

Summer in Paris by Michele Ashman Bell

Kenzie Williams has it all–wealth, friends, popularity and talent. But when her father declares bankruptcy, her whole world in New York City turns upside down. Her parents' solution is to send Kenzie to live with her relatives in Paris . . . Idaho!

Feeling like she's been sentenced to three months in Hickville Prison, Kenzie must get up at the crack of dawn, do chores, and hang out with her cousin's loser friends. Then she meets Adam White, the town outcast, who's been accused of killing his best friend.

Not only is Adam the best-looking guy she's ever seen, but he's also the most fascinating guy she's ever met and Kenzie is determined to get to know him and find out his secret. But, the longer she stays in Paris, the more she realizes, Adam isn't the only one keeping secrets.

Michele Ashman Bell: What can I say, I'm a middle-aged mother of four, who, after ten years of hard work, perseverance and a lot of rejection letters, finally got a book published.

I grew up in St. George, Utah, where a lot of my family still lives, but now reside with my husband and family in the Salt Lake City area. My favorite thing to do is support my kids in their many interests. Between basketball, ballet and piano lessons we squeeze a lot into a week, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Women of the Book of Mormon by Heather B. Moore

Explore the lives, circumstances, and choices of women in the Book of Mormon in this uplifting and inspiring volume that illustrates the parallels between the lives of the women of the Book of Mormon and LDS women today. With new insights on practically every page, author Heather B. Moore explores the written and unwritten stories of the prominent women in the Book of Mormon, taking familiar material and providing vivid details about family dynamics, domestic practices, and other aspects of daily life.

By exploring historic and cultural contexts to the situations of women like Sariah, Abish, Eve, Mary, and the faithful mothers of the stripling warriors, you will peek beneath the surface of the scriptural accounts to better understand both the righteous women of the Book of Mormon, and the women who didn't use their agency wisely.

Heather Moore was born in Providence, Rhode Island, but spent most of her childhood in Orem, Utah. During these years, her family traveled back and forth between the Middle East and Utah. At the age of eight, while living in Egypt, she was baptized in the Red Sea. Heather attended the Anglican School of Jerusalem from 1987-88, and returned again to Jerusalem with her husband in 1994.

Heather graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in Fashion Merchandising and minor in Business Management. This has nothing to do with writing books, but at least she can color-coordinate her kids school clothes and balance a mean checkbook.

Heather is a member of the League of Utah Writers and LDStorymakers. She also manages the editing company, Precision Editing Group, LLC.

CLICK HERE for details on how to win these books.

CLICK HERE for details on sponsoring the contest. (I can add up to four more for this month. First come, first served.)